This dish from Rome is one of my favourite Italian food dishes to make at home. It basically is nothing more than Italian-style schnitzel; veal escalopes wrapped in Prosciutto with sage, and then pan-fried in Marsala, a sweet wine from Italy. You can also make it with chicken fillet instead of veal escalope, and if you don’t have Marsala you can use Madeira instead. I made it often with chicken fillet and it’s very tasty too, but of course then not ‘the real deal’ Italian Saltimbocca anymore. Saltimbocca means ‘Jumps in the mouth’ in Italian, no idea what that means but at least it sounds as if it’s good to eat. And it is good! Because of the sage, a typical herb from the Rome area, this dish is claimed to be Roman.
You can serve Saltimbocca with pasta, polenta, baked potatoes or just with some vegetables, like green asparagus or broccoli. Scroll down for the simple recipe.
4 veal escalopes, room temperature
8 nice slices of Prosciutto or Parma-ham, room temperature
8-12 leaves of fresh sage
3 tablespoons olive oil (for frying)
2 lumps of butter (for frying)
125 ml Marsala or Madeira
fresh black pepper
4 slices of lemon, for serving
4 wooden toothpicks
vegetables as green asparagus or broccoli
optional: pasta, polenta or potatoes
Place the veal escalopes in between layers of cling film. Take something heavy (a frying pan) and give it a few good smashes to make the meat a little bit more flat. Take away the cling film and season the meat with pepper and salt (more pepper than salt – the ham is already salty)
Place two slices Prosciutto (or Parmaham) next to each other, the ends overlapping. Place 2 leaves of sage in the middle and put the veal on top of that. Wrap the prosciutto around the meat and pin/secure the ends of the Prosciutto together with a wooden toothpick, and another fresh leave of sage.
Place a big frying pan over high fire, add olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted and is slightly golden brown, place the 4 saltimbocca’s in. Fry the rolls golden brown at all sides, this will take about 6-8 minutes. *If you don’t have a real big frying pan for 4, then rather do first 2 and then the other 2. It’s important that the pan is hot and that there is enough space for the meat to get golden brown and done.
Poor the Marsala (or Madeira) into the frying pan, cover with the lid (but allow a ‘steam gap’) and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Then remove the lid, take the meat out, and leave on a plate covered with aluminium foil.
Reduce the sauce over high fire until thick enough. Make sure you stir in all meat juices and stick coating. If the sauce seems done; a bit shiny and thick, you place the meat back in the pan. Make sure it’s warm again, then serve direct with a slice of lemon on the side. A bit of lemon juice will bring up the flavours of the veal escalope, ham and sage.
Saltimbocca can be served with grilled green asparagus with flakes of Parmesan cheese and raw chopped almonds. Or broccoli, spinach or garden peas. If you like a carb with it: go for pasta, potatoes, couscous or polenta.